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tv   Book Discussion on The Road Out  CSPAN  May 25, 2014 8:00am-8:31am EDT

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am also a special entrepreneur so i direct a nonprofit in the north carolina mountains called page, partnership for appalachian girls an education. they are i work with appalachian girls in middle school and help them get educational opportunity and access. i have a couple of different hats that they were at duke university, researcher and now a social entrepreneur. ..
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which was a very big step for me. and i ended up, three scholarship from a group called aauw, instead of getting a scholarship in doing super well in college, ended up finally after a lot of tumbles in the lot of halls, going on, getting a graduate degree from harvard and effort -- education. that they express myself connect to my native soul in south carolina and found that this nonprofit called page and began working at appalachian girls out here. >> host: when you say you work with appalachian girls, but you do? >> guest: i teach. so people who work with me on this nonprofit have created this kind of out of school sort of opportunities for growth living in the most rural and remote price of the appalachian
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mountains. they come to an intensive summer program. they have weekly meetings with volunteers and a vista person working with us in page. we offer these appalachian cows who otherwise don't have opportunities for summer learning at enrichment, we offer them a wonderful educational program for the summer. they come into our program from all over the mountains of north carolina and madison county and they do learning. they write. they read literature and make it a really intensive semi-learning asked. through page that nonprofit that i direct. >> in "the road out," court adriana, player, maria, elizabeth, shannon, jessica and alicia? >> so come and these are seven very amazing, very special gross
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i got to know when i was teaching in cincinnati. i mention i'd gotten my college degree, ended up getting a teaching job in cincinnati, ohio. there i discovered this pretty amazing neighborhood. it is a neighborhood of appalachian people in the inner city and assertive goes back to private america's history when you had people in the appalachian region moving up north to look for jobs in cities like cincinnati and dayton and knocker and those kinds cities. i was teaching at the university of cincinnati embarrasses appalachian community. i went there and said to be about the public elementary school, which you let me be a teacher in your elementary school and teach kids, which might agree with an education so i became teaching and got to know the seven gross, player, mariah and so forth. at that time when i first met by
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students, they were only in second grade. i followed these goes into the third grade and fourth grade and midway through their first great processor to these young girls coming to you while much of a class of your own? and they said yeah, we'll give this a try. so i began meeting with these girls, seven of them in toto. we met every week for four years of their lives and this became a kind of an amazing experience for them and for me. having a room of iran, a class of only studied and read literature and talked about stories and mostly i listen to the girl streams about their lives. it was a place or they could dream and tell stories and read books. >> host: deborah hicks, how are these girls similar in outlook of life click >> guest: they are poorer. so they are among the very poorest of american children.
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i found out -- unless cincinnati in 2009. i came back to north carolina, as i said, too found this nonprofit. cincinnati in 2010 became the third worst city in the united states for child poverty and urban areas. only ferry to detroit and cleveland. this is one of the poorest cities in the u.s. for child poverty. part of that child poverty with appalachian poverty in the inner city. so while these girls were poor. many of them had moms who had drug issues. and poor white america coming to chart problem tends to be centered around the abuse of prescription painkillers like oxycontin would be an example of that. so i found out that many of my
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young students, some of them like eight, nine, 10 years old had moms who are doing drugs and now was a common factor among the girls. >> so how did that affect their outlook on life? their dreams as he said? >> for many of these girls, they were -- what i was discovering as a teacher for many of these girls come that they were orphans. they have become orphans to oxycontin and american poverty. so why was their teacher. we had a rough class, but our class became like a family to them. and it became kind of like sisters. yes, i was a teacher. i sometimes had to be teacher lee and starring an stuff, but it became like family. it was very intimate. at one point, two of the girls and one of them was blair and
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the other with embryonic. they said we are sisters. we are sisters. we often begin our cost base back in food to get things going. i said to the two girls, what makes you are sisters? what is going on? they said we just figured out both of our moms are on the doing drugs and so for them, it was like we have become like this via mulling in the class was their sisterhood. it is a sisterhood of gross. >> to their childhood, when you were seen in your classroom and from matty, did it reflect what you grew up with in western north carolina? >> guest: a little bit to some extent. i grew up a working-class girl. i didn't have an opportunity, did not access. onto my family had been to college. i was naïve about how college worked, schoolwork.
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but the difference is i was working-class. my dad had a job. >> host: did a live at? >> guest: et. >> host: was that rare? >> guest: i think it was pretty common in those days. in rural appalachia as opposed to urban appalachian communities, you did tend to have families where you have a dad and mom living in the house. my dad was living in the household, had a job and not was different because the girls that i taught in cincinnati, largely their dads are out of the picture. they had biological dad, but they were just not part of their everyday lives in their mom's worst dirtying to lose it because of the drug issue and so their families were beginning to be ripped apart. what i saw in this appalachian meaning in cincinnati, similar to other urban families that
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their grandma's kind stepped in and start taking over in taking control of the family. in fact, one of my students i write about in "the road out," blair, her grandmother was her central caretaker. >> host: how did you get out? added you to call us? >> guest: the one keyword education. i have to be very grateful. i was a very naïve, working-class girl. i was a little bit of an anomaly because i loved books and i loved reading, so i was kind of a bookish girl. i think because of that, i did really well in school, got a's. i do nothing about college. i didn't know how to get in, didn't know how to apply. got a letter in the mail saying i had a scholarship because this wonderful group of women, the american association of university women have given a scholarship. >> host: how did you get connect with?
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>> guest: i honestly can't remember. i think they probably heard about meeker high school. probably had him unfit this girl, this kid can make it. i just got a letter saying you have been given a scholarship to college, so i ended up going up to college. once i got named, did so well that it was really easy for me to exile and keep going. >> host: deborah hicks, what is the hardest part of leaving your town, your naïve necessities to end coming into college? >> guest: i think i think the toughest thing is one do you leave, once you take a ride out, you do have to give up part of your childhood identity and part of who you are. there is a process of change
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that has to happen. to some extent, it puts you at a certain -- a little bit of a distance from her childhood and your family and staff. that part is difficult and involves a change. for me, that was great because i went on to college, but then i have come back and helped my own people, the people who are my people, working-class people. so i feel yeah, i have had to give up some of who i was, but now i can come back and hope that people who are like me. >> host: were you treated with suspicion back home? because you were the first to go to college? >> guest: i think it is a very perceptive word. i think people like me who are kind of bookish, poor working class kids, people think she's a little bit different. she is not exactly like everybody else around here and
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she's a little odd maybe. she is more interested in books than at that point in my life, getting married or having babies or whatever. yeah, you are little bit different and i was seen as different. luckily, that didn't stop me or hamper me in anything. >> host: your work in cincinnati that you write about in "the road out: a teacher's odyssey in poor america," with the sanction by the cincinnati public schools? >> guest: just comment they were phenomenal. i have to say they were total colleagues, friends. they opened their doors to me. and to some extent, i think they were a little bit baffled about what i was doing because i was having this class for girls and reading all this literature. they were like this is working out in the girls were thriving and i was trying to come at the same time, bring back what i learned from the class to the other classrooms and staff.
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so i tried to go back to the school systems, but they were absolutely welcoming and wonderful to me in every way. >> host: besides having a class of seven, what else did she bring differently into that classroom? >> guest: i would save my own experience growing up i connect you with were the girls were coming from. i was a different teacher in that sense. we also did something very unusual these days because now we have a lot of pressure from accountability and testing to teach to the test and get everybody up ready to these big cats and urban, poor settings and urban, cincinnati. instead of doing not, i read literature. that is more of an anomaly these days to read literature and talk about literature and talk about the stories of your life. so that was different.
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it is a little bit different for me if i am kind of an old-fashioned literature person. i like novels about characters and character driven novels and stuff like that. so i try to bring young adult fiction to these girls come at things that were about girls like them. >> host: such as? >> guest: such as a wonderful short novel called a blue-eyed daisy. stuff more about working-class or appalachian girls by authors that will speak to their concerns. my students, blair and adriana wanted nothing of data. they turned their noses up and said we don't want your kind, meaning we don't want your book. not me as a person, but the books i was bringing in. it turned out their favorite book was horror fiction. >> host: like vampire? >> guest: some of that.
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but some of my students it turned out by the age of nine and then also tanned, her favorite author was stephan keying. they watched stephen king on television. they read stephen king. here i was trying to be this idealistic social justice teacher, trying to change the world, change them and all they wanted to read with stephen king. i finally gave in and said we are going to read horror fiction and staff and that was transformative for me and my students because they began becoming readers and really enjoying reading and loving it and staff. eventually, stephen king read my memoir and wrote a very nice blurb about it. >> host: do you regret a lot of the girls to read horror fiction? >> guest: not at all. we did not actually read stephen
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king and my class. i did a bunch of research after i learned about this literary passion affairs and i found all these really wonderful stories and stuff for young kids and they manage to create this whole curriculum around the stories and scary stories. so they kind of compromise. they still insisted their favorite author was always stephen king. that was interesting. >> host: how long were you with these girls and a special class? >> guest: we had the class were four years in third grade to the end of sixth grade and i made a decision at that point to come back to north carolina, which was where i grew up and begin to found by a nonprofit building about a learned from these girls. so i had to leave and that was very tough because i left these girls and their just entering adolescence. i kept up with them.
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i visited cincinnati. we kept in touch via e-mail and facebook and everything else and i went back and forth, but i left when they were in sixth grade. >> host: do you regret that? or do you feel responsible? >> guest: i do sometimes feel if i had been able to stay, if i had been able to continue the class, a number of them struggled when they entered adolescence. one of them became a young teenage mom at the age of 16. she finished high school, going on to study hairdressing and staff, so she has done really well. but there is a time. when they're a number of my students struggling and i did feel guilty. i know i had to come back to my native state and do my work here is a social lunch premiere. it was simply a choice i had. i felt i had a calling to do this. >> host: how old are the girls? 17, 18, 19?
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>> guest: no, they are in their early 20s. >> host: very quickly come to injury on a current snapshot. >> guest: adriano finished high school in a very competitive private high school but she got into with some help from me, but she finished high school. she went on to hairdressing, training program. >> host: she's a young mother? guest airgas, she is a beautiful little girl. by every stretch she is doing quite well. but there were some very wet patches. >> host: transporter. >> guest: blair is more difficult to talk about. blair was a student who reminded me most of myself. very. she was the one who first began talking about stephen king. her grandmother raised her, grandma lilly said that her vision was that blair would
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become a lawyer and she had this talents. blair dropped out of school and she dropped out in ninth grade. she just couldn't finish high school and then she ended up -- kept trying and trying to go back and get a ged and wasn't able to do that. currently, the last i checked in with her she was working that night job for cleaning an office building. something like a big urban office building claiming that night on the night shift. >> host: maria. >> guest: maria is married, divorced, had another relationship and had two lovely children. finished high school, is trying to go back to college and become a nurse's assistant. has not quite gotten there yet. left her partner, is now a single mom, raising these two
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beautiful children and she's doing pretty well. >> host: elizabeth. >> guest: elizabeth has struggled as well. elizabeth has a very young child. she had a baby a little over a year ago and has a fiancé, a study partner. she almost finished high school, did not pass one section of her science test. her science high school test. and because of that, was not allowed to finish high school. and because of that, she has to drop out. >> host: any plans to go back at this point? >> guest: i would love to go back as soon as possible. i would love to go back at least once a year. i am hoping to go back in the fall and visited cincinnati. i'm very busy. i run a nonprofit in the north carolina mountains.
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i try to keep up and i try to visit as much as i can stay in touch with the seven girls. >> host: very quickly shannon, jessica andalucia. where are they today? are all seven girls don't cincinnati area? >> guest: alicia is the one who has led cincinnati. she got married to his servicemen, to a soldier in the army and they moved away from cincinnati. she has a child. she's married and has her first child. shannon and jessica are both again struggled to finish high school and were not quite able to finish. shannon did not finish high school. she got pregnant in high school at had a baby that died soon after birth, a baby that was very premature. after that point, begin
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dismissing herself from school and kind of fallback and dropped out of high school. jessica dropped out as well, but it's gone back and done ged and further college studies and as i think engaged to be married. so both girls are doing well in the context of their communities. i know they wouldn't be sort of seen as let's say a duke context or whatever would not be seen as having gone far with their professional careers, but they've done extremely well given what they were up against, which is a neighborhood of severe poverty and a real serious drug problem. none of these seven girls have touched drugs and i think that is a huge thing in their favor but they have not gone the way of their bombs. they've said to themselves, we want something better for our lives and we don't want to go
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there and they didn't. >> host: deborah hicks, where do you think you were successful and where do you think he would do things differently? >> guest: i think we were very successful. we had intimacy. we had a super successful class. we had seven girls who are attaching themselves to school, loving literature, loving books, and love in a like experience. the biggest challenge i face was just about the time my class finished, i had to leave to come back to my home state and found by nonprofit that i was thinking about founding. the biggest difficulty was not being able to finish the class when the girls were entering adolescence. that is why when i founded my new initiative, page, but they made sure we were surging growth in the middle-school years, trying to work with students, growth in the years they are
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most vulnerable and trying to decide who they are and what they want to be in life. that is something i learned from the class in cincinnati that it brought back with me to north carolina. >> host: if people are interested or nonprofit, what is the website? >> guest: carolina page.word. it is a partnership for appalachian growth education. you can find stuff on the website. you can go to the stories page on the page website and watch digital stories come and meet the girls come to hear their voices and learn about their lives and would love for people to check out the website and meet these appalachian girls. >> host: when you go back there, when you and all these local girls, retreated again
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with suspicion as a harvard do-gooder and a sense? >> guest: in the mountains where page is located, we have an expression firm harris and not from here is. you would be sleepy and not from here. i am at the stage both a friend here and did not from here. original farmhouse in this community called spring creek from some farmers in madison county and when i am there in the farmhouse i am from here. and when i go to the page program where we have for this program for appalachian girls, i am kind of a nod from here. i don't sound like an appalachian girl anymore and i just type the com more of a professor and researcher in that kind of thing. there's a part of me that is always a five-year and it doesn't leave you. you are always in the way this same girl that you were when you were a child. >> host: we have been talking
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with author educational scholar, deborah hicks about her book, "the road out: a teacher's odyssey in poor america." >> booktv ads, what are you reading this summer? >> well, i will hopefully get to three books. the zimmerman -- and a book that senator levin just sent over to me. the jewish pirates of the caribbean. the first two books were books
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that i found the zimmerman telegram when i was at the l.a. book festival speaking on my book and was just really intrigued by this story. for me as the first jewish woman to represent florida in congress , historical depictions and stories about the jewish experience really intrigued me and i think we have an opportunity to learn from the experiences situation at them through and these stories, the zimmerman telegram specifically is an interesting story because it was said -- there was a telegram intercepted by great
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britain to essentially try to get mexico into the water against the united states. the story goes through the balancing act that great britain had to do to not reveal that they had cracked the code, determined to, but at the same time to notify the united states of the impending danger. the jewish pirates of the caribbean is the book that focuses on the past been prolonged for jewish in the history of the. very jewish pirates pirates eyadema at this admission position and he wrote the high seas and not book, sander levin, told me tells a story about what they went through in the outcome of those.
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under 12 tribes of hattie is about migration throughout american history, but particularly the great migration from the south of african-americans, particularly following slavery. and the struggle of african-americans have gone through and the tough life they lived. this is a fictional story that takes the family and a mother who prepares her children, her nine children for the difficult challenges of these throughout their life. >> what are you begin this summer? tell us what is on your summer reading list. tweet us that booktv. send us an e-mail, booktv booktv@c-span.work. >> russell paul talks about cracking and the impact it's had
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in the world. mr. gold spoke at the san antonio book festival in texas for about 45 minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> they lost to a certain team that was owned by the former ceo that would be the oklahoma city founder. that is a very sensitive topic in this town, russell. i think it was 18 or 19. >> i'm from philadelphia. very difficult for me to read about that. >> are we all sat? welcome, one and all. i am robert rivard. it is my distinct pleasure to be the moderator for a conversation with russell gold, senior editor reporter for "the wall street journal" based in texas. important for me and important for all of you, this is something of a homecoming because russell go

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